first, hello dusty old blog. tanglethis posted her response to a color challenge meme a while back. after i admired it, she assigned me GOLDENROD. after a longer while, i answered.
second, most emphatically, i HATE goldenrod. it makes me feel like my face is trying to wiggle off in the itchiest way possible. however, i love the bright, orangey-yellow color of it. so here goes.
A. Egg yolks that come out of hens who are cage-free, vegetarian-fed, and in general left to live as happily as possible. The rich, extra-orange imbues puddings and pastries with a wonderful creamy color. Oh, and taste. They taste so very much more eggy.
B. Marigolds. Once again, a plant that makes me itchy and wheezy, but one I love just the same. Nature’s answer to anti-pest, the perfect partner to tomato plants or any other edible. They are sunny and pert and apparently very irritating to insects and rodents. Does this make me akin to pests? I hope.
C. Crayola crayons. The ones used by young children (and myself) most often to draw the fire-spit bits around the sun. Not the mellow, all yellow circle of a sun, no. The sun that really means it, the sun that is hot. They are creatively named: yellow-orange and orange-yellow.
D. Parrots. Specifically, the two parrots living in our house wear this color as well. Cricket wears an orangey-yellow scattered over her forehead and shoulders. Salad wears a combo of yellow belly and orange vest, and yes, that counts. They are decorated in these brights along with other equally vivid and lovely colors. And they are bright spots in my life.
E. Classic goldfish. My siblings and I had several growing up, all named Charlie. I remember up to Charlie XII, though there may have been a few more. Eventually we graduated to a real aquarium with several varieties of small fish, and I continue to keep an aquarium today. Our giant, dark and shy pleco knows he has sunny goldfish Charlies in his family tree.
F. Fire. It is wild and mesmerizing, it makes me feel warm in the cold and damp. Nothing else inspires such a duality of relaxation and wariness. Nothing, I believe, is really more alive. A beauty so intense it must lap and chew and consume just to exist.
G. Apricots. They taste as they look–warm and full of sweet juice. They taste of being grown on a tree in full sun. They remind me of my mother. They are a pleasure that is currently all mine, as the man I share my life with is allergic to them. They can be eaten in three bites or in twenty. They glow.
H. Kitchen wall paint. The color my family keeps trying to buy for the kitchen walls in the house in the mountains. The first attempt was gold. Not quite the intent. The second attempt was flat-out yellow. Also not the intent, and still on the walls. Every time I look at them I imagine what color of paint should be there.
I. Tomatoes. The bright, rich, low-acid variety that are everywhere at the farmers’ markets right now. The height of summer in one piece of, yes, fruit. Golden and practically bursting open with tart juice. Daring us with their loveliness.
J. Lastly, this poem. It’s not so much that I love the style or the language choices, but that it so perfectly captures a moment in time that I adore. When you’re not sure if it has started to be fall yet, goldenrod is all around.
The goldenrod is yellow,
The corn is turning brown;
The trees in apple orchards
With fruit are bending down.
The gentian’s bluest fringes
Are curing in the sun;
In dusty pods the milkweed
Its hidden silk has spun.
The sedges haunt their harvest,
In every meadow’s nook;
And asters by the brookside
Make asters in the brook.
From dewy lanes at morning
The grapes’ sweet odore rise;
At noon the roads all flutter
With yellow butterflies.
By all those lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer’s best of weather,
And autumn’s best of cheer.
Helen Hunt Jackson